Do Castor Oil Packs Really Work? | They Are Making a Comeback!

Do Castor Oil Packs Really Work? | They Are Making a Comeback!

Castor oil packs are a legendary treatment that dates back to ancient times. Traditional Chinese medicine, Indian Ayurveda, Ancient Egyptians and Mediterraneans all used castor oil for its rejuvenating health and beauty aspects. It is even mentioned in the bible as the oil that anoints. The plant has been given the special name of the Palm of Christ. The oil and the packs have been around forever and will forever be a part of natural medicine.

But do they really work??

I can personally say that castor oil packs changed my life and were a big contributor to my healing. They are my #1 prescription with patients because their benefits on the body are so far-reaching. So let’s dive into the science behind how castor oil packs work and what they do for the body!

  1. Feel Good and Relax – Bring Pleasure – Stimulate Dopamine

Who doesn’t want to be relaxed, feel good and feel pleasure? Like the pleasure you feel after an amazing meal1.

These packs are meant to relax the body. By applying the pack on the body, most commonly the liver area underneath the right ribcage, you stimulate the sensory receptors in the human hairy skin. This sends a message via the somatic-visceral reflexes, the fancy term for the sensory receptors on the skin, to the organs inside the body. The corresponding organs that are affected are the liver, pancreas, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, kidney and adrenals. Because the stimulus is soft to the touch and pleasurable2, it moves your body into the relaxed state from the stressed state. Studies show that stimulation of the skin lights up the areas of the brain exactly as they do with pleasurable, dopamine-stimulating fatty meals. Big difference though, castor oil packs are way healthier than an excessively fatty meal!

I call these packs the escape button for the nervous system, like on your computer, and the science of physioneurology proves it. Castor oil packs take your body from frazzled to fine in a matter of minutes, all by naturally working with your physiology to make it happen. They are great because they are non-invasive and so beneficial to overall health. You could say it’s almost like giving your body a great big hug3 and you get the same benefits from it.

Because of this aspect you want to make sure that you are using good quality, luxurious, organic cotton flannel that is soft to the touch. The sensory receptors identity the soft sensation as pleasurable which promotes the relaxed state. The pack is just as important as the oil. If you use the oil on your body without the pack, you will lose the majority of the relaxation benefit.

Why does being relaxed matter? When you are relaxed you can heal, your digestive system produces all of its juices with ease, like digestive enzymes, bile, hydrochloric acid and immune factors4. Most important is that your so called “leaky gut” is a response to living in a stressed-out state. In the relaxed state, stimulated by a castor oil pack, you regain your gut integrity5 6 7. This means that all the supplements and organic food that you are taking, you will absorb even better if you are using castor oil packs. They help to optimize digestion so that all these pills and potions you take will help supercharge your life.

In the relaxed state is also where your body can cleanse, detox and simply clean up the junk that is in your system. When your body is in the stressed state, all of these functions go on maintenance mode instead of enhanced mode. Move your body into the relaxed state with a castor oil pack and you have the recipe for successful cleansing and detox.

A cool practical application of these castor oil packs that I have seen in practice, is for health nuts just like me that love to do regular cleanses. When you do these packs during a cleanse, you AVOID the dreaded cleansing symptoms like headaches, skin irritation, moodiness, joint/muscle aches and pains. The mechanism of action here is this, when you are stressed and running away from say, a tiger who is going to eat you, your blood is flowing to the extremities and to your brain. Similarly, if you do a cleanse while in the stressed state, the toxins that you are trying to eliminate from your body will flow to your extremities, causing aches and pains, and to your brain, giving you headaches and moodiness. It’s physiology 101, in the stressed state your blood hemodynamics feed the extremities to get you away from the predator to survive, in the relaxed state your blood flows to your internal organs allowing you to digest, cleanse and reset. If you want to supercharge your cleanses and make it easy on you and those around you, ALWAYS do a castor oil pack for support.

Even better, retraining your nervous system daily to switch into the relaxed state helps you to optimize your life, in general, since you will become more resilient to stress of all types. These days we need it. So make these packs a daily health practice for life. You won’t want to stop.

2. Reduces Pain & Inflammation – Where there is Inflammation there is Sickness, Toxicity and Overall Distress in the Body

Let’s face it, as humans we run from pain and move towards pleasure. How does the castor oil pack stimulate pleasure and reduce inflammation at the same time?

The chemical structure of ricinoleic acid, the main component of this magical castor oil, is similar in structure to prostaglandins in our bodies that reduce inflammation. To put this into context, when you take a fish oil supplement, you take it because it provides you with these prostaglandins that will reduce inflammation all over your body. Castor oil is exactly like that, although we don’t take it orally for this effect, we use it as pack on our bodies to reduce inflammation.

It also reduces substance P8 in the body, that is a chemical messenger that promotes the sensation of pain.

Inflammation in your body equals retention of water. Inflammation is basically a fire that burns in the body with the purpose of creating destruction in order to recreate, renew and heal. Inflammation is purposeful and it can be healthy. However, many cases of inflammation get out of control and result only in destruction. Firefighters use water to control a fire, so does your body. With an inflamed intestine and gut, the body will hold water in the abdominal area to decrease the irritation. This leads to excess weight in your abdomen, the so called central obesity or in laymen’s terms, the “beer belly”. Castor oil packs help to reduce and regulate the inflammation in the abdomen, so that you can work towards that flat belly you are dreaming of.

3. Castor Oil Increases your MASTER Cleansing Agent – GLUTATHIONE

If you haven’t heard of glutathione, this is what you need to know. Glutathione is an incredible molecule that pulls and helps with elimination of most, if not all, toxic substances from the body including things like the dreaded heavy metals.

Glutathione is worth its weight in gold and it is priceless for a healthy body. The problem is that most of us are running on empty. We have used up our stores of glutathione because we have been bombarded with chemicals and pesticides of all types since the industrial revolution in the early 1900s.

Glutathione is also difficult to recycle naturally in our bodies and there are very few sources from our food. Some food sources are whey protein (which I don’t suggest because it is mucous-forming) or rooibos tea, which I personally love and always recommend drinking on cleanses. You can also take glutathione supplementally, via intravenous infusion or oral capsules. The latter of these isn’t necessarily the best absorbed and there is controversy about whether or not it is worth it to take glutathione orally.

Enter castor oil! A recent research study demonstrated that glutathione was increased in rat ocular lenses when they were placed in castor oil, greater than in the ocular lenses placed in actual glutathione9! Incredible.

We’ve known for eons that castor oil packs aided in cleansing and detoxification but we weren’t sure exactly why. This eludes to the benefits of castor oil far beyond what we comprehended. This mystical oil is still surprising us and I’d bet there is more to come.

4. Makes you Poo! By Stimulating Smooth Muscles of the Body

We all love a great poo. In fact there is nothing more pleasurable than poo, well perhaps a great orgasm! When we don’t poo frequently enough, we are recirculating in our bodies the junk that needs to come out. This builds our toxic load and predisposes us to problems like excess cholesterol, hormone imbalances and much more.

Castor oil stimulates smooth muscle contraction via the prostaglandin EP3 receptors of the body10. Smooth muscle is what the intestines and guts are composed of, as is the uterus. Working with castor oil packs stimulates these to move.

One caution: Do not use castor oil packs or castor oil while pregnant. It is unknown but it could possibly cause movement of the smooth muscle of the uterus, enough to terminate the pregnancy. Work with your knowledgeable practitioner on this one.

Cleanliness is next to godliness and keeping your bowels moving and regular keeps you happier, healthier and in tune with your body. Instead of using laxatives, put on your castor oil pack today! It’s proven to be just as effective and is a lot gentler on your system11.

5. Promotes a Balanced Microbiome, Happy Gut, and Biofilm Breakdown

Having a healthy microbiome has massive implications for your overall health. Benefits include balanced mood, good bowel movements, reduced abdominal pain including bloating and gas, reduced physical inflammation, improvement of auto-immune and hormonal problems, the list goes on and on. A healthy microbiome is the one major determinant of your overall health.

A very common issue for many people is overpopulation of bad gut bugs, or as I call them, “conbiotics”. They are con artists that take up residency in your gut and steal space from the good guys known as “probiotics”. Probiotics do great things for your body. They produce B vitamins and byproducts like butyrate which help to keep the gut really healthy. The conbiotics just wreak havoc. They can produce a protective layer called biofilm to keep them from being terminated. Biofilm can be so strong that it is almost impossible to kill off these conbiotics. If you are able to break down the biofilm then you have a much better chance of getting them out of your body and restoring the peace. Castor oil is one of very few natural substances that can break down this barrier, as well as chemical biofilm breakers like sodium hypochlorite12. The probiotics you are taking are actually going to work better and provide you with super health if you are able to get rid of biofilm in your gut. Wow, you save money and feel better faster.

Now that you know the benefits of practising a castor oil pack regularly, it just makes sense to do it. These are all things that many of us are spending thousands of dollars to achieve. Use the castor oil pack as a way to enhance all of the treatments, supplements and health tools that you are currently using. It’s your best next step to health.

As the Queen of the Thrones and of castor oil here are the most common questions I get about castor oil packs.

  1. How does this oil get through the skin? The active component of castor oil is ricinoleic acid. Castor oil is composed approximately of 75-85% of this fatty acid. It has a molecular weight of 298 daltons. In dermatological medicine there is what is called the 500 Dalton Rule. Substances that are below 500 daltons can permeate through the lower layer of the epidermis, which is the top layer of the skin. It can then go deeper, into the dermis, that contains the blood and lymphatic vessels. These are the superhighways of the body, transporting medicinal substances like castor oil into the body. Compression also helps to put tension on the skin, facilitating its deep penetration. So using the pack is a very important part of the treatment.
  2. Do you need to use heat? Heat is optional. Used as a modality in natural medicine, heat slows things down, so depending on your bowel function you can use it appropriately. If you go to the bathroom too much, add heat to slow things down. If you don’t go enough, let your own natural body heat do the job. If you have your period, use heat as it will help to relax the uterine spasms. Heat has been shown to only speed up the elimination of metabolites and not the rate of liver detoxification13.
  3. Should I use my castor oil packs during my period? Yes, absolutely! In fact, it will help with reduction of pain and cramping associated with your period. The concern was that the castor oil pack would make you bleed more. This is not the case, you will bleed what you have to bleed independent of the pack. The pack may speed up your period, but that could be of benefit if you’re off to a beach holiday!
  4. Castor oil packs are so messy, I don’t want to do them! You no longer have this excuse my friends. That’s exactly why I created the Queen of the Thrones™ Castor Oil Pack, to make it a simple 2-step process instead of a 12 step ordeal. The Queen of the Thrones™ Castor Oil Pack attaches onto your body for ease of use.
  5. How do I wash my Queen of the Thrones™ Castor Oil Pack? You do not ever have to wash your pack, if you take care to only apply oil in the center of the pack away from the seams. If you do prefer to wash your pack when it becomes very saturated with oil, usually after 15-20 treatments, you may do so. Soak overnight in hot water with 4 tbsp. of baking soda, and 1/2 tsp. of clean, natural dish soap. In the morning wring it out and hand wash with the healthy dish soap. Place on the outside of an old tea towel that you don’t mind ruining and press out the castor oil. Continue to do this until the outside has very little to no oily residue.
  6. How often do I need to replace my Queen of the Thrones™ Castor Oil Pack? Things don’t last forever, but in general, with daily usage your pack should last 3-4 months. For those who care for it well or use less frequently, longer.
  7. When is the best time to do the castor oil pack? There really is no best time, but it is best to do it DAILY! Before bed is ideal because the castor oil pack relaxes your body and promotes an amazing sleep.
  8. How long do I wear my castor oil pack for? Wear your castor oil pack for a minimum of 1 hour each day, or ideally overnight.
  9. What kind of material should I use for my castor oil pack? I recommend using organic cotton flannel for the side that touches your skin. Otherwise materials contain brominated flame retardants that are hormone14, nervous and immune system disrupting15 16. The Queen of the Thrones™ Castor Oil Pack is made from organic cotton without flame retardants on the inside and a non-toxic barrier layer on the outside made from eco and health friendly poly-urethane (PUL).
  10. Why Should I buy my castor oil in a glass bottle and organic? Castor oil is a carrier substance as well as a healing agent. In a plastic bottle, castor oil will grab onto the chemicals in plastic and bring it into your body. All oils should be in a glass bottle if you are using them in or on your body. Organic is simply because it is produced cleaner and has had less exposure to chemicals and pesticides.
  11. How much castor oil do I use per treatment? Each treatment requires a new application of the oil. You always want to start fresh and reapply. Apply 2 tbsp of Queen of the Thrones™ castor oil in the center of the pack, then fold in half using either side to blot the oil around. Be cautious not to get it in the seams as there are holes and the oil will permeate the pack if you do.

Are you eager to learn more about this legendary oil? For a limited time, Dr. Marisol is offering her online course, Fit for a Queen, which is her comprehensive online program all about castor oil, for only $11 ($189 value). This course teaches Dr. Marisol’s personal and clinical experience with castor oil, the history of castor oil, conventional and natural medicinal uses, beauty applications and tons of tips and tricks to incorporate this healing oil into your daily life. You don’t want to miss this amazing opportunity! Click here to learn more about Fit for a Queen.

References:

1 Francis S, Rolls ET, Bowtell R, McGlone F, O’Doherty J, Browning A, Clare S, Smith E. The representation of pleasant touch in the brain and its relationship with taste and olfactory areas. Neuroreport. 1999 Feb 25;10(3):453-9.

2 Rolls ET, O’Doherty J, Kringelbach ML, Francis S, Bowtell R, McGlone F. Representations of pleasant and painful touch in the human orbitofrontal and cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2003 Mar;13(3):308-17.

3 Löken LS, Wessberg J, Morrison I, McGlone F, Olausson H. Coding of pleasant touch by unmyelinated afferents in humans. Nat Neurosci. 2009 May;12(5):547-8. Epub 2009 Apr 12.

4 Grady H. Immunomodulation through castor oil packs. The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine. Volume 7 Jan 1 1998; 7(1): 84-9

5 Snoek SA, Verstege MI, Boeckxstaens GE, van den Wijngaard RM, de Jonge WJ The enteric nervous system as a regulator of intestinal epithelial barrier function in health and disease. Expert RevGastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Oct;4(5):637-51.

6 Keita AV, Söderholm JD. The intestinal barrier and its regulation by neuroimmune factors.Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2010 Jul;22(7):718-33. Epub 2010 Apr 9.

7 Kraneveld AD, Rijnierse A, Nijkamp FP, Garssen J.Neuro-immune interactions in inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome: future therapeutic targets. Eur J Pharmacol. 2008 May 13;585(2-3):361-74. Epub 2008 Mar 18.

8 Vieira C et al. .Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation. Mediators Inflamm. 2000;9(5):223-8

9 Holm T1, Brøgger-Jensen MR, Johnson L, Kessel L. Glutathione preservation during storage of rat lenses in optisol-GS and castor oil. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 19;8(11):e79620. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079620. eCollection 2013.

10 Tunaru S1, Althoff TF, Nüsing RM, Diener M, Offermanns S. Castor oil induces laxation and uterus contraction via ricinoleic acid activating prostaglandin EP3 receptors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jun 5;109(23):9179-84. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1201627109. Epub 2012 May 21.

11 Arslan GG, Eşer I. An examination of the effect of castor oil packs on constipation in the elderly. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 Feb;17(1):58-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2010.04.004. Epub 2010 May 18.

12 Badaró MM1, Salles MM1, Leite VMF1, Arruda CNF1, Oliveira VC1, Nascimento CD1, Souza RF1, Paranhos HFO1, Silva-Lovato CH1. Clinical trial for evaluation of Ricinus communis and sodium hypochlorite as denture cleanser. J Appl Oral Sci. 2017 May-Jun;25(3):324-334. doi: 10.1590/1678-7757-2016-0222.

13 Huber R, Weisser S, Luedtke R. Effects of abdominal hot compresses on indocyanine green elimination–a randomized cross over study in healthy subjects. BMC Gastroenterol. 2007 Jul 10;7:27.

14 Ezechias M, Svobodova K, Cajthaml T. Hormonal activities of new brominated flame retardants. Chemosphere. 2012 Jan 9.

15 Miller MF, Chernyak SM, Domino SE, Batterman SA, Loch-Caruso Concentrations and speciation of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in human amniotic fluid. R.Sci Total Environ. 2012 Jan 9.

16 Wang L, Zou W, Zhong Y, An J, Zhang X, Wu M, Yu Z. The hormesis effect of BDE-47 in HepG(2) cells and the potential molecular mechanism. Toxicol Lett. 2012 Jan 3;209(2):193-201.